12/29 "SURPRISE… The Empty Box is the BEST Gift!"

Garden Tomb Texts: Lk 23:50- 24:12

In a Nutshell: Did you ever notice after the Christmas tree is emptied of its beautifully wrapped bounty from beneath it, that frequently the innocence of childhood tends to gravitate toward imaginative play in the empty boxes? A lot of money is spent on the latest trinkets and technology but often it’s the empty box that awakens the imagination to speculation and inspires a healthy dose of anticipation!  The empty  tomb gave those who sought the Kingdom  of God enough evidence to believe  and yet  enough doubt to blind those who merely sought their own agendas.  So it is today, those who seek the truth through Jesus see, and those who seek their truth elsewhere remain blinded.  The Empty tomb is the gift of confidence which leads us to the amazing gift of grace. The BEST gift is the EMPTY box!

Ice Breaker:  Describe the absolute BEST Christmas gift you got as a child?  Now how about the absolute BEST gift you received as an adult?  How are they different?  Similar?


  1. Remember Luke 11:34-35?  How might this explain why Joseph of Arimethea  and Nicodemus of the Sanhedrin came to believe in Jesus while the other “Teachers of the Law” didn't?  How might Matt. 11:15-19 add to this discussion?
  2. How does Luke introduce the women in this text?  How would you regard Jesus' perspective of the women?  How did the apostles regard the women?
  3. Many skeptics dismiss the Bible's description of the resurrection as ludicrous saying that the apostles had hoped so much to see Jesus alive again that they imagined these appearances.  Does that match what the Bible says? Did the apostles hope against hope to see Jesus alive?  


  1. Is it more important to just believe in Jesus' resurrection or is it more important to know why you believe in the resurrection?
  2. Why do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus?
  3. If your children or grandchildren asked you why you believe in the resurrection of Jesus, what resources for help and support would you recommend to them?
  4. Last week families were challenged read the story of the burial and resurrection, name the individuals mentioned and the different types of emotions they likely experienced.  Parents were then challenged with the children to use your imaginations and write a journal entry as if you were one of those individuals trying to deal with those emotions.  Share your experience…


  1. What does the church do consistently which is designed to make you think about the importance of the death of Jesus and the empty tomb? 1 Cor. 11:26; 15:3-4
  2. What would it look like if your CARE group chose to dedicate an evening to reenacting the Lord’s Supper?



Title Righteousness & Rainbows, Curses & Cleansing

Text:  Genesis 6-9, Job 1-2

Questions:  How does God use water to influence man’s sin and salvation?  (Gen. 6-7; 1 Pet. 3:20)  How does God react to those who are faithful? Gen. 6:8; Job. 1:8 How does Satan react to those who are faithful?

Parents with your Children:  Read the stories of Noah and Job and discuss with your children what a “faithful” lifestyle looks like.  How does a faithful lifestyle differ from a morally perfect lifestyle?  Hint: Did Noah sin?  Did Job sin?  Did Noah’s children sin?  Did Job’s family sin?